Wednesday’s Best Bets and Quick Picks: Parx’s $272,981 Pick 5 mandatory payout

July 3rd, 2024

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares best bets and quick picks for Wednesday, July 3 at Delaware Park, Presque Isle Downs, and Horseshoe Indianapolis, along with a horse to single in the mandatory-payout $272,981 Pick 5 carryover at Parx Racing.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Hoosier Park $10 Money Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any eligible race at Hoosier Park every Wednesday in July.
  • Horseshoe Indianapolis $10 Money Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any eligible race at Horseshoe Indianapolis every Wednesday in July and also Saturday, July 6.

Best Bets and Quick Picks

Delaware Park: Race 3: $25,000 Maiden Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs on dirt, 1:30 p.m. ET)

#5 Sacred Thunder (2-1) is an unraced juvenile from the hot barn of Gary Capuano. Capuano has gone 8-for-25 (32%) at Delaware Park this meet, which includes a stellar 3-for-5 (60%) tally debuting two-year-olds.

A half-brother to a pair of stakes winners, Sacred Thunder showed some ability when working a bullet five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 at Laurel Park. Hot jockey Jaime Rodriguez (a 29% winner at Delaware this meet) is named to ride, cementing Sacred Thunder as the horse to beat.


  • #5 Sacred Thunder (2-1)
  • #4 Onyx Ten (6-1)
  • #3 Re Markably (8-1)


  • $25 to win on #5 Sacred Thunder

Presque Isle Downs: Race 1: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs on Tapeta, 3:00 p.m. ET)

#2 Making Mischief (5-2) is a two-year-old daughter of graded stakes-winning juvenile Maximus Mischief, who sires a sharp 16% winners from first-time starters. She’s put together an encouraging work tab at Turfway Park for hot trainer William Morey (a 25% winner at Presque Isle this meet) and looks ready to challenge for victory under Pablo Morales, the runaway leading jockey at Presque Isle last year.

#1 Lady Loves Money (3-1), a top-three finisher in her first two starts against maiden special weight competition at Presque Isle, can complete the exacta.


  • #2 Making Mischief (5-2)
  • #1 Lady Loves Money (3-1)
  • #6 Art Nouveau (4-1)


  • $20 to win on #2 Making Mischief
  • $10 Exacta: 2 with 1
    Total: $30

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 3: $5,000 Maiden Claiming (six furlongs on dirt, 3:12 p.m. ET)

In a field without much pace on paper, #1 La Flaka (3-1) looks ready to win in gate-to-wire fashion. She’s finished second after carving out the pace in each of her last two starts against $15,000 maiden claiming competition at Horseshoe Indianapolis, earning Brisnet Speed ratings of 53 and 51.

Those numbers stack up well against this $5,000 maiden claiming field, and it’s important to note trainer Lilia Gonzalez wins at a 27% rate with horses dropping multiple levels down the class ladder.

#5 Unafrade (9-5), who has competed almost exclusively in maiden special weights so far, can rally to round out the exacta.


  • #1 La Flaka (3-1)
  • #5 Unafrade (9-5)
  • #6 Lucky Linda W (4-1)


  • $25 to win on #1 La Flaka
  • $5 Exacta: 1 with 5
    Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Parx Racing: Race 6: $272,981 Pick 5 mandatory payout (2:59 p.m. ET)

Fans of mandatory-payout carryovers had better get ready for an exciting afternoon at Parx Racing. On Wednesday, the $272,981 jackpot carryover in the 50-cent “Philly Big 5” Pick 5 will be paid out to all winning ticketholders, no unique combination required.

Every race in the sequence contains at least nine horses, so there are many possible outcomes to analyze—187,110 before scratches. But don’t let the difficulty scare you away. There are nine also-eligible entrants in the mix, so once they (or others) scratch there will be only 89,100 possible outcomes to analyze. And we can slice that number down to 9,900 just by singling #2 Spikezone (3-1) in Race 9, the penultimate leg of the Pick 5.

Race 9 is an allowance taking place over seven furlongs on dirt. Since there aren’t any eligibility conditions, the field has come up deep. #3 Twisted Ride (9-2) has placed multiple times at the graded stakes level. #5 Far Mo Power (7-2) defeated multiple Grade 1 winner Mind Control in the 2022 Parx Dirt Mile. #8 Ridin With Biden (10-1) is a versatile runner who took the 2022 Greenwood Cup (G3), and #9 Counterspy (4-1) has won five of his last six starts.

It might seem risky to single Spikezone in a field this deep, but the five-year-old gelding has been riding a hot streak for high-percentage trainer Jamie Ness, winning five of his last seven starts. He’s been particularly strong in two recent runs at Parx. On April 17, Spikezone wired a six-furlong $50,000 allowance optional claimer by 3 1/4 lengths, earning a 105 Brisnet Speed rating. He then replicated that rating on June 12 when he led all the way to smash a 6 1/2-furlong unconditioned allowance by 8 1/2 lengths.

Those blowout victories were faster than any efforts Spikezone’s rivals have recently produced. For good measure, he has positive jockey and trainer stats in his corner. Spikezone is retaining the riding services of Mychel Sanchez, a 28% winner teaming up with Ness over the last two months. And Ness strikes at a 31% rate with horses who won their previous start.

There are no certainties in horse racing, but there’s a strong chance Spikezone will wire Wednesday’s ninth race at Parx, hence our recommending him as a single.

Good luck!